Stonehill Defeats Merrimack 3-0, Earns NE-10 Tournament Berth

 Skyhawks advance to NE-10 Tournament for third-straight season

Senior Bryan Galligan pitched seven
shutout innings for Stonehill.

EASTON, Mass. (May 6, 2012) – Stonehill College, ranked sixth overall in the latest NCBWA East Regional Poll, posted a 3-0 victory over Merrimack College in its final regular season game on Sunday afternoon at Lou Gorman Field in Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) Northeast Division action.

The Skyhawks entered the week needing to win its four remaining games left on the schedule to advance to the NE-10 Tournament and they did just that. On Wednesday, Stonehill claimed a 10-6 win on the road against UMass Lowell and swept Merrimack College in a three-game weekend set taking a pair of games yesterday at Lou Gorman Field, 7-2 and 1-0, while also winning today.

Stonehill (30-18, 18-11 NE-10, 13-8 Northeast Division) will take on Franklin Pierce University (33-15-1, 20-7-1 NE-10, 14-6-1 Northeast Division) on Tuesday, May 8 in Rindge, N.H. at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field in a single elimination NE-10 Tournament First Round matchup at 4 p.m.

Senior Bryan Galligan (Brockton, Mass./Brockton) bumped his record to 4-4 overall pitching seven shutout innings, yielding seven hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Freshman Armand Rugel (Middletown, R.I./Middletown) notched his team-leading third save of the season on two innings pitched, two hits, one walk and one strikeout.

Junior Joe Mantoni (Northbridge, Mass./Hopedale) suffered the loss in six-plus innings of work, four hits, one run (earned), three walks and a game-high nine strikeouts. Classmate Brett Julian (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) went one-and-one-thirds innings, allowing two hits, two runs (both earned), one walk and one strikeout. Sophomore Travis Terrill (Hudson, N.H./Alvirne) recorded two outs while fanning one hitter.

Freshman Dan Pidgeon knocked in the game-winning run in the seventh.

In the top of the fifth inning, Stonehill used two superb defensive plays to keep the Warriors off of the scoreboard and keep the game scoreless at 0-0. Senior left fielder Michael White (Lisbon, N.H./Lisbon Regional) robbed senior Paul Arce (West Hartford, Conn./Hamden Hall Country Day) off an extra base hit and a possible RBI with a fully outstretched, diving catch in the left center gap for the second out of the inning. Freshman shortstop Casey Cotter (Northampton, N.H./Dean CC) followed with a double down the right field line but sophomore outfielder Billy Karalis (Pawtucket, R.I./Bishop Feehan) one-hopped his relay throw to senior first baseman Steven Popp (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) who corralled the baseball and delivered a strike at home to sophomore catcher Colin Shepard (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet) tagging out Joe Burnham (Woburn, Mass./Woburn) to end Merrimack's scoring threat.

In the bottom of the seventh, freshman third baseman Dan Pidgeon (Darien, Conn./Darien) provided the game-winning RBI for Stonehill with a single through the left side for a 1-0 lead. Popp jump started the Skyhawks offense with a leadoff single through the left side, advanced to second base on an opposite field single to left off the bat of senior Michael Magnussen (Carver, Mass./Coyle & Cassidy) and moved to third on a fly out to right field from Shepard before scoring.

Stonehill tacked on two more runs in the eighth as Popp launched a triple to left field plating sophomore second baseman Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) and Karalis.

Popp turned in a defensive gem of his own in the ninth snaring a line drive destined for right field off the bat of Mark O'Flynn (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich) at first base to record a double play as sophomore Eddie Newton (North Billerica, Mass./Arlington Catholic) advanced to far off of the bag. Newton led off the inning with a single to left field.

Dionys Quezada (Lawrence, Mass./Lawrence) followed with an infield single to short and Alan Pastyrnak (Bristol, Conn./Bristol Eastern) drew a walk to put the tying run at the plate but Rugel fanned pinch-hitter Rob Crocitto (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Joseph by the Sea) with a breaking pitch to push Stonehill into the NE-10 Tournament.

Merrimack's season ends at 17-32 overall, 8-21 in NE-10 play and 4-17 in the Northeast Division.

Postgame Interview With Head Coach Patrick Boen